A nice reminder from the Times' No. 1 scribe that, contrary to a received opinion I hear too often about critics, particularly those at the paper of record, he does not in fact hate the theater:
...though I’ve been reviewing plays for The Times since 1993, I can say honestly that I’m never bored at the theater. Uncomfortable sometimes and even on occasion in pain, but never bored. It helps, of course, that I’m being paid to pay attention. Anything, if you focus on it closely enough, acquires interest, even the seemingly monochromatic.
But more important, theater is one of the few things in my life that I fell in love with early that I have remained in love with. (New York City is another.) I feel in an odd way as if I’m married to it, which means that I put up with it when it’s not behaving well because we have a long, long relationship, and I know the splendors of which it’s capable. It still has the power to make me grin, writhe and cry as nothing else can.
I know I've given Brantley a few knocks on this blog, and you could argue that this sort of testimonial ought to go without saying, but when he's right, he's right. I've met maybe two critics in my lifetime who don't feel this way. Truth be told, most of us love the theater not wisely but too well.